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Langkawi : The Jewel of Kedah

Helang Kawi also famously known as Langkawi is a cluster of 99 islands in the Andaman Sea.  Helang Kawi means island of the reddish brown eagle.  On my flight to Malaysia, I was in awe of the beautiful serene beaches they showed on the screen. We took the ferry from Penang to Langkawi which was about three hours journey.

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Luckily I got the window seat. When the ferry boarded they played a Chinese movie without the subtitles.  Getting bored of the meaningless actions and gaping mouths I looked outside and enjoyed the view. Even though it was a sunny day, light drizzles started fading my vision of the outside world. Slowly as we proceeded ahead, dark clouds started looming over the sky and slowly covered the sun. Water started changing its color to complement the shady clouds. Streak of silver light glittered on the waves that moved back and forth dancing in tune with the movements of ferry.

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When we reached Langkawi, I saw a huge board Selamat Datang “Welcome to Langkawi”.

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Its crazy to have a checklist when you are surrounded by beautiful beaches. The very sight makes you want to spend and laze around on its white sands with a deep thought of nothingness going around oneself.  Nonetheless the place has a few sight seeing points which we checked out.

Underwater World: Underwater world is one of the largest marine and fresh water aquarium in Langkawi.

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Mahsuri’s Tomb Mahsuri was a young woman who moved to Langkawi from Phuket and was considered one of the most beautiful woman in the islands.  She married a warrior named Wan Darus.  When war broke out against Siamese, he left Mahsuri to fend herself while he fought the war.  Meanwhile Mahsuri befriended a traveler. People jealous of Mahsuri’s beauty began to defame her and accused her of infidelity.  Villagers tied her to a tree and stabbed her to death.  When she was stabbed, white blood oozed from her body claiming her innocence and purity. Villagers were shocked of their wrongdoings and even more shocked when Mahsuri cursed them to have seven generations of bad luck.  People of Langkawi still believe in this legend as there were facts of failed crops for decades. Due to Siamese invasion, farmers started burning their paddy fields rather than letting them fall into their hands.  This also led to the history of burnt rice.  After seven generations, Langkawi began to prosper and it was looked upon as tourist place. The descendants of Mahsuri visit her tomb to pay her homage.


Field of Burnt Rice Rice is one of the staple diet of Langkawi. When the island was attacked by Siamese, all the farmers accumulated their crops and burnt their harvested rice.  This was the strategy adopted by the chief villager to prevent their wealth (rice) falling into the hands of their enemies.  Despite that, the island was conquered and what was left was a field of burnt rice.  There is sample of burnt rice kept encased in a glass chamber for the visitors.  As a sight it was the most disappointing place in the island with a historical significance.

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Tanjung Rhu Beach Beautiful beach with crystal clear water and lovely smooth sand.  We stood there for a while admiring the beauty of the nature and watched the setting sun on the jewel of kedah.

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Black Sand Beach Black Sand Beach is few kilometers from Tanjung Rhu Beach.  Its famous for its mix of black and white sand.  Its a great spot for fishing and one may notice many fishing boats moored across one end of the beach near the wooden jetty.  The name of the beach is from an old legend where a mermaid cursed a fisherman who had stolen her ring.  Some believe that its because of the soil from the rice paddy fields which were burnt.  Well too many curses floating around the island!


Gunung Raya Mount Gunung Raya is the highest mountain in Langkawi with an altitude of 881 meters. We drove to the peak of the mountain covering the dense thick rain forest with huge lush of flora and fauna.  From the top of the tower, we get to see stunning 360 degree view of the island and few parts of mainland Thailand. The whole view is breathtaking with blue mountains spreading out with Andaman sea flowing in between them.

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Dataran Lang Dataran Lang also known as Eagle Square is a sight not to be missed during your visit to Langkawi.  A tall sculpture of reddish brown eagle ready for its flight stood by the bay of Kuah Jetty point protecting the people and island from the evil eye. We walked along the square at night as the majestic eagle watched over the city spreading out its huge illuminated golden wings.

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Oriental Village Oriental Village is best known for its cable car and the famous sky bridge. But to our unfortunate the time when we went to Langkawi the sky bridge was not functional and was under maintenance. Not much to do in oriental village, we then took a segway tour to roam around the village.

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Temurun Falls Its quite a hectic walk to reach and view Temurun Falls. A stunning stream of water flowing down at 200 meters from the slope of Mount Mat Cincag is the largest waterfall of the island. Visitors enjoy a relaxing swim amidst the mountains and the refreshing crystal clear water.

Laman Padi Laman means field and Padi means rice in Malay.  A visit to this island made me realize that how much importance was given to rice.  Another place to check out is this field of rice. This time thankfully it was not burnt!  The place is located to Pentai Cenang and the best part is we got a guided tour where the guide spent few hours talking passionately on the process of growing and harvesting rice.  We saw traditional machines where the husk was separated from the grain and also how the oil was extracted from the rice for medicinal purposes.  A nice educational nature trip!

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Pentai Cenang beach As we stayed at Pentai Cenang resort, a walk to the Pentai Cenang beach was a regular affair.  During our last day of stay in the island we spent few hours on the beach watching the setting sun and then departed to the airport for our flight to Kuala Lumpur.

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Copyright ©2010, Lakshmi Nair . This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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